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August 14, 2022 – Sermon Transcript

Do I Know My Neighbors? - Aug. 14, 2022

Jon Deyling (00:00):

How can you make an impact in your community? Not in the world. Cuz if you say, I wanna make an impact on the world, how are you gonna know? But if I say, how do I make an impact in my neighbor’s life? I’ll know that.

Hannah Hunter (00:17):

Hey, beautiful people. Welcome back to Sundays with the gathering I’m Hannah Hunter, the director of digital reach here at the gathering place in Palm beach gardens. This week, we’re excited to have Jon Deyling, our director of family ministries bring the message as we begin our series on the art of neighboring taking the great commandment seriously.

Jon Deyling (00:34):

I wanna start today off with this story. Uh, this is a story of me and my house and it’s after a few years of being, we’ve been there 11 years and after a few years of being there one, one morning, it must have been over the summer because I was home. I got a knock on the door and you know, it was before we put up our don’t solicit sign, but I went out there and I answered the door and it was an agent from the department of Homeland security. That is a strange conversation to have, especially when they first introduce themselves and they show your, but their badge like, oh my what is happening? Um, momentary, like crisis of like everything went through my head and it simply turns out that my neighbor’s son Robbie wanted to join the Navy. And so the department of Homeland security was going door to door and asking all the neighbors <laugh> what do you know about Robbie?

Jon Deyling (01:29):

Um, much to my embarrassment. I knew very little. Uh, we had been there for like three years. I think I just said that it’s it’s about that. I should know a lot more about Robbie after living next door to him three years. Uh, the most I could tell him was, uh, he’s got a skateboard to which he walks his dog on his skateboard and really it was about like, I don’t see anything bad. Like I haven’t heard anything bad happen next door. And that’s, it was a really humbling, embarrassing moment of I’m not a good neighbor right now because I know nothing. I know more about Robbie now that he’s an adult and he’s on Facebook and I follow on Facebook, but I still like he’s a trucker. It was really interesting career path for him. He’s driving around the nation, enjoying the life of being a trucker.

Jon Deyling (02:20):

But that really goes into the fact that I wasn’t being a good neighbor. And that is actually the point of the series that we’re about to launch into, which is called the art of neighboring, which is not something I ever created, cuz I’m a terrible neighbor, but there’s a wonderful book called the art of neighboring. It’s wonderful and awful all at the same time. Cause I’m just reading it with shame going, oh no, no this and no, this is bad for me. Um, and I’ll show you later how bad it can be for you too. <laugh> great. But it can also be very great. And um, it’s, it’s a very easy read and you’re gonna hear from me this week and from Kevin Peck, uh, next week, he’ll go through the second part of it. And then Elizabeth AFI will be the third week. And then Michael, come back to close us up on this, this stuff.

Jon Deyling (03:15):

But the authors of this don’t take this from their own personal stance. They they’ve lived this out. They’ve developed this book, but they really went back to scripture as to what is a neighbor and where does God call us to be good neighbors and things like that. And so the foundation of this book comes from two scriptures and the first one is quite often known as the great commandment, which I’m gonna read to you from the book of Matthew and it’ll be on the screen. Also, this is a moment where Jesus is being tried and tested by the Pharisees. Uh, they wanna know Jesus, what law do you think is the best? Because if you know old Testament, there’s laws everywhere and they’re trying to get, ’em trying to trick ’em as to what’s the best of these Jesus. And so here we go from chapter 22 versus 34 through 40 hearing, the Jesus had silenced the sades, the Pharisees got together.

Jon Deyling (04:21):

One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus replied, love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like, it love your neighbor as yourself, all the law and the prophets. Hang on these two commandments. So you heard the word neighbor pop up in there, right? That was a number two. So love God and love your neighbor. Now this is actually, there’s a, a, a song that’s on Christian radio right now called love. God love people. Have I heard that? Yay, Laura. And thank you. <laugh> um, which it’s a catchy little tune, right? But notice how they change the word from neighbor to people, right? So it’s, they, they change something in that, which actually does make a little bit of a difference. Um, but this is, this is the first scripture that this book, the art of neighboring is based on. God told us through Jesus, love God and love your neighbor. And that’s the only two commandments he ever gives us.

Jon Deyling (05:41):

The second one, I want to give you a little background on before I get into it. Um, it is the second one comes from a parable before I get into that, you know, I’m a history teacher. That’s what I do. So when I can inject a little bit of history into something, make my wife go to sleep in the back. Cuz she’s like history. No. Um, in ancient about the time of Jesus, there were two kingdoms that were, uh, Judaic. There was the Northern kingdom. And then there was the Southern kingdom. The Northern kingdom was the big boy one there, 10 of the 12 tribes of Israel were hanging out there. It was called Israel, which sounds pretty familiar to you guys, right? And their capital was a place called Samaria. Now the Southern kingdom was much smaller geographically. Only two of the tribes settled that section.

Jon Deyling (06:36):

Anybody know the name of the Southern kingdom, Juda, Judah. All right. A lot of people haven’t heard of that. Judah now the capital of Judah is a very well known city called Jerusalem. You’ve probably have heard of Jerusalem. So what we have is that the Southern kingdom folk hated the Northern kingdom folk because they view the Northern kingdom folk as they’ve lost their way, they’ve started incorporating other religions into the mix. They had false gods that they worship. They felt they were corrupt. And so the people of Judah very much disliked the people from their capital city of Samaria. Now does anybody know where Samaria comes into play in the new Testament? There’s a parable about people from Samaria. Okay. Samia. There’s a parable of the good Samaritan. It comes in the book of Luke. It starts in chapter 10 and it starts on verse 25. Bear with me follow along. Even if you’ve heard it before. On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus teacher. He asked what must I do to inherit eternal life? What is written in the law he replied and how do you read it? He being, Jesus answered, love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength and with all your mind and love the neighbor as yourself.

Jon Deyling (08:10):

You, oh, I’m sorry. I had that wrong. You have answered correctly. Jesus replied do this and you will live, but he wanted to justify himself. So he asked Jesus and who is my neighbor in reply? Jesus said a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho. When he fell into the hands of Roberts, they stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down to the same road. And we saw the man he passed by on the other side. So too Aite when he came to the place and saw him pass by on the other side, but a Samaritan as he traveled, came where the man was. And when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. And he put the man on his own donkey, took him to and in and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver corns coins and gave them to the Inkeeper look after him. You said, and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.

Jon Deyling (09:15):

Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? The expert in the law replied the one who had mercy on him. Jesus told him go and do likewise. So to recap, three, multiple neighbors of the man who had fallen and needed desperate help, refused to help. But somebody who should have hated the man for being from Jerusalem was the one who helped him now. Yeah. Jerusalem and, uh, Samaria, very old time groups of people. So I thought of a couple of other from mod more modern examples, maybe to give you a concept of how much these guys hated each other. Anybody’s seen west side story, not the new version, the original one who, who we got in west side story, who are the gangs sharks in the jets right now? The jets is a bad word down here.

Jon Deyling (10:17):

Cause dolphins and jets, but jets and sharks, the jets and the sharks. Didn’t like each other. Did they gang war, uh, bringing that up a little bit more modern, uh, if you were a Griffin door and there was a slither in laying on the road, same concept, or if you pay attention to news at all, taking it back to Israel, Israel and Palestine, same thing happening. Now that was happening back then people living in the same area, hating each other, willing to kill each other. That’s the kind of depth of hatred the Samaritan should have had for the man from Jerusalem on the side of the road. It’s not just like Gators and seminals haha. It’s kind of funny. It’s a deep seated hatred that he should have had. And yet that was the man who was being the good neighbor. Now, anytime I’ve ever taught this, now granted I teach middle school and I have youth groups.

Jon Deyling (11:18):

So I got high school. But anytime I’ve taught this lesson of the good Samaritan, it always escalates to who’s your neighbor. And it’s like, oh, wherever you are in life. That’s your neighbor right now. Randy’s my neighbor. I should not punch him. Right when I’m at lunch later, the person sitting next to me is my neighbor. I should pick up their plate. If it drops on the floor, we always get this high metaphorical sense of who’s my neighbor. And yes, that is very well and good. I should definitely not physically attack Randy. That’s bad. But the point of this book, the art of neighboring starts with how about we take the word neighbor, literally quit thinking of all the ways that’s your neighbor to people throughout the day that you work next to somebody, you gotta get along with them. They’re your neighbor at work when you’re driving in your car, they’re your neighbor next to you in the car.

Jon Deyling (12:13):

But we always for forget. Oh, okay. We always, I quite often <laugh> neglect the fact that I am surrounded by physical neighbors where I live. That’s the term is that you have a neighbor there, there they’re there. If you’re in an apartment complex, you have neighbors there. And they’re, if you’re in town homes or just rows of people that are your neighbors, that’s the point of the art of neighboring. Let’s not forget about who is our actual literal neighbor. Having neighbors has always been very important, having people to talk to and get along with. Um, when I talk about American history, we talk about people who are settling the Midwestern portions of the country. You ever been out in like Iowa and like Montana and you own a farm. You ever been to those places where there’s like nothing, your closest neighbors, like how many miles away, 30 miles away back when they were first settling it, you might never see somebody.

Jon Deyling (13:12):

And so some of the earliest people that went out there to help were like, let’s make a, so like farmer’s alliances the national GRGE. They were built to get all these farmers to come together, like once a month and meet their neighbors. Cuz they knew that was so important in establishing community and having a positive life. But in the modern world with all of our modern conveniences, how much do you really need your neighbor? Right? I mean, one of the reasons I knew my neighbors growing up, well they had kids my age, but here got locked outta your house who had a key your neighbor. Now I could just punch a code on my door and I go inside. Or they, they, they make apps to open your garage door from wherever. Oh, I left my key at home, open the garage door. I’m in the house.

Jon Deyling (13:59):

So I don’t need my neighbor for security purposes anymore. Uh, if I, my car breaks down, I need a ride to work. Do I need my neighbor? No, I’d call Uber. Get a ride to work. Right? I don’t need my neighbor for that. If you’re trying to make something, you run outta the ingredient. If you don’t need it right away, you don’t need your neighbor. You can get on the app and order it. Walmart delivery. You’ll get it to there in a couple hours. Uh, if you, you see something cool, your neighbor has it in their house. You don’t have to ask ’em about it. Just know what it is. Go online and order it with modern conveniences. We don’t truly need our neighbors anymore. For things. We don’t need our neighbors for socialization. Any socialization you want. I mean, it started with phones, but now any online interface, you can socialize with all kinds of people without leaving your house. And there are so many times that go into communities and you, you go in, you just there’s no cars in the driveway. There’s no people outside. Everyone just pulled in, went in their garage, shut the door. And that’s all they need. Cuz everything you have is in your house. And so something really has been lost here. Oh I forgot this one. COVID

Jon Deyling (15:18):

And then there was COVID now your neighbors will kill you.

Speaker 3 (15:23):


Jon Deyling (15:23):

Right now you’re scared to go to your neighbor’s house cuz you don’t know if they’re on quarantine,

Speaker 3 (15:30):

They will wear a mask.

Jon Deyling (15:32):

They may not. They may not fit your belief on the whole masking situation. You don’t wanna get into a fight with them. But if you were on quarantine, did you need your neighbor to bring you stuff? No, because Uber eats right? It’ll get there eventually. So I think it’s becoming ingrained in our culture. That it’s actually to the point where it’s strange for someone to know their neighbors around them, they are different. And there’s probably one or two of those people in your neighborhood. There’s always people gathering. You’re like, oh weirdos talking to people. Um, and this kind, this manifested itself recently in the conversation I had, um, ironically through text, not through in person communication <laugh> um, somebody who I forgot, knew Dotty Taylor sent me a text like, Hey, did you know that Dotty passed and is a church gonna have a service for her? There will be a communication on that. At some point bear with us. I was like, no, well yeah I knew I’m sorry. Yes. I knew. And then we were just chatting and this, this parent is also, her name is Erin. She’s a, she’s got a kid at our school. So we’re texting. And I was like, oh yeah, cuz I mentioned the pumpkin bread and how she was the originator of the pumpkin bread. And Erin already knew that like, oh yeah, you’ve worked at the pumpkin patch and you probably met Lauren and maybe Dotty was out there and Erin goes and she’s my neighbor. Like,

Jon Deyling (17:06):

And I knew that I, I kind of knew the community in which she lived. And I was like, oh my gosh, how weird is it that I wouldn’t think that a person would’ve talked to their neighbor, two doors down and known all this stuff. Right? I had to put them somewhere else in the greater world for them to mistakenly meet each other. And so I know in my mind I have forgotten about neighbors and now we are gonna take a test. Oh yes. It’s time for you.

Speaker 3 (17:36):


Jon Deyling (17:37):

Keep in mind. I’ve already done this test and you can’t hide back there. You do. I did terrible, but that’s okay. All right. Perry, do you have this on the screen? All right, right. We’re gonna, I’m gonna get some brave soul to help me pass these out. This is a little test. Who’s my neighbor. You’re there. I want you. And if you have a family together, you can work as a family and that’s okay. That’s not cheating. Um, I want you to take a minute. Actually. I’ll wait till more of these. Get out. Although there are three things. If you’re going to pass the test, there are three things in each square that you must fill out. Now this says, this pretends like you live in a nice square and there’s three behind you. Two on the side and three across the street. The point is you’re eight closest people, not the person, you know, who lives way down at the end of the street. These are the eight closest people around you. And I want to know, well, not just I, the point of the book is can you name three things about each household, one who lives there? Just a name. Even if you don’t know the last name, Steve grace, whatever.

Jon Deyling (18:58):

Hold on. So I’ve done a horrible thing. This is bad teaching 1 0 1. I’ve given you the form and I’m still trying to explain things, but people have already started working. So they’ll miss the directions. Sorry. Right? Looking at you. Three things, one their name. Okay. We’ll call that a part a is their name part B? Do you know something about them that you can’t see from the outside? So like if, you know, somebody went to Ohio state because they fly a giant Ohio state flag that doesn’t count <laugh> right. But do you know some like surface level information about that person? That’s part B part C. Do you know the deep things about that person? Hopes, dreams, love loss, the things that you have to be in true conversation to know. Right? So, and you don’t have to list all of them. Just list one. So I’m gonna give you five minutes and see if you, how many people you can fill out in your neighborhood grid, their name, a surface level thing and something more deep.

Jon Deyling (20:11):

So just for, uh, clarity purposes, just so you don’t feel bad about the whole thing. Cause I feel really bad after doing this and yeah, there are some people I’ve seen them and I just like, I could describe them, but I don’t know anything about them. Um, you know, me personally, it helps my, my brother-in-law lives like right across the street. So he’s one of my technical neighbors. So I knew all kinds of stuff there <laugh>. But the author of the, the authors of the book, when they first started doing this, when they were testing out their book, they collected data. And only about 10% of the people that they collected data from were able to fill out a name in every box. So if you couldn’t fill out a name in every box, you’re actually in the majority, only 10% of people could do that. Only about 3% of the people could get to that second level in every box and less than 1% could fill out the entirety of the box.

Jon Deyling (21:16):

So please don’t feel bad if you did not do this. This is, but this is why I was so convicted and like, oh, at this book, cuz I, I, yeah. Um, but it really points to the fact that maybe we are not following along with the path that Christ created for us when it comes to loving your neighbor. Cause if we were loving our neighbors, this would be a no brainer. Or at least I get all the names in there at least. Right. But there’s people I don’t know. And we are going on 11 years now in our house. And if we can’t know our neighbors, let alone love them, then we’re not gonna make any sort of impact in the community in which we are. How can you make an impact if you don’t know who’s there. And even if you know somebody’s name, how can you make an impact in their life?

Jon Deyling (22:06):

If you don’t know what’s going on in their lives, if you haven’t seen somebody in a couple years or in a couple weeks, how do you know what’s happening? Especially with the last couple years that we’ve had here. There’s um, there’s a series of videos that the leadership team in the church is watching. It’s why Alan plat, that’s his name? Right? Phil Allen plat. And it’s called the city changers movement. And it’s all about how can you make an impact in your community? Not in the world, kinda like that. Just you need to focus on something. Cuz if you say, I wanna make an impact on the world, how are you gonna know if you make an impact on the world? But if I say, how do I make an impact in my neighbor’s life? I’ll know that I’ll know what I do. And if it makes an impact in their life or not, because it really starts where you are. And I’m gonna ask you to do one more thing on this chart, not to add more names, but we’re gonna label some things. All right? So still need a writing utensil. This will be real easy. There’s one of three letters that I want you to put in each box.

Jon Deyling (23:22):

It’s either an S for stranger, an a for acquaintance or an R for relationship S for stranger. If all you had was their name or nothing at all, if you could fill out that second line with like basic information about them, they’re an acquaintance for you. You know, a little bit about them. You say, hi, give the neighborly wave when they walk in. But if you could fill out all the things, you’re in a relationship with that person, if they’ve opened up to you about what’s actually happening in their lives and they’re willing to share with you, you’re in a relationship. So label all the aid boxes S for stranger, a for acquaintance are for relationship.

Jon Deyling (24:17):

Because one of the things that we see in this idea with kids, kids these days, they have a lot of friends, but they don’t. They have a lot of friends because social media tells ’em they have friends and followers. But how many of those friends are actually friends or are they actually acquaintances? You know who they are. They like your picture once in a while, but you don’t really know anything about them. It’s the same thing with this. Now, this stranger acquaintance and, uh, relationship. I’m gonna come back to at the end of the service and you are taking this home, by the way, don’t let me find these on the ground. Cause now you’ve written your neighbor’s names down. I can figure out who you are. <laugh> good luck. You sat right there. I know it’s on your list.

Jon Deyling (25:12):

So let’s take this away from you as a person and take it to us as a church, right? Yes. We’re, we’re kind of church sharing right now. This is where we are right now. Who are our, well, we have some actual people there, right? We have people over there. What’s right over there. Pretty big school gardens high school. Um, now I’m a gardens high school graduate. So I can say the following gardens high school gets a really bad rap. You know, there could be like a huge brawl at Dwyer and nobody will cover it on the news. But one person sneezes at gardens and like outbreak at gardens, high school gardens high. School’s a really bad rap about things. Um, and unfortunately, I mean, no, fortunately they do have some pretty cool programs over there, but they are. How do I say this? Now? I say criminally underfunded programs.

Jon Deyling (26:14):

Every, if you don’t know the high schools in this area, all have magnet programs where kids can get involved in. And yes, we have the school of the arts. The whole school is get geared towards that. But every high school has certain things they can do. Uh, gardens high school has a business. They have culinary. They have, what else am I missing? There’s like four of ’em film. Yes. There’s film medical, medical. Yes, those are the good ones. Um, and in talking with I’ve had Lon talks with, uh, Benjamin Bates, Ben Bates. He was in the culinary program and he was sharing like just these kids don’t know how to cook during a culinary program. They graduate high school. I had him grow hamburgers a few weeks ago from youth group. He’s like, I’ve never grilled a hamburger before, like you’re in the culinary program. How have you never grilled a hamburger before? He’s like, cause we don’t have funds. We basically get flour and sugar and occasionally butter and most we can do is make basic stuff and hope to raise money and anything they do have the teacher was buying all of it and bringing it to school.

Jon Deyling (27:26):

Now there’s a school that is trying to teach students a trade. Culinary is a trade. Not everyone’s going to college and being a physicist, but you can make a good living in the culinary world. And here we are trying to teach them, but we’re not giving anything. Can I be a good neighbor to them? Could we be a good neighbor to them? How easy would that be? Do they have supplies? Do they have things with which to cook? They have ovens. They have mixers. But if there’s nothing to put in those ovens and he, I asked Benny specifically said we don’t get any meat ever. There’s no. It’s like, how can you be in a culinary school and not learn how to cook chicken? How to cook a steak, how to cook a hamburger. Right. Can we be a good neighbor there? I don’t know.

Jon Deyling (28:26):

No. Yes. I do know. Yes. Is the answer. Um, and honestly there are some wheels turning on that right now for, to help them. So now not to pick on you, miss Nancy, but I’m gonna, but miss Nancy said, can I put who I want to be in that square? Right? Say, can I pick my neighbors? Can I put who I want in this square? And I sold. I said, no, sorry. I said no, because the reality is you were put where you are. You don’t always get to choose your neighbors. Maybe you bought a house and you had the best neighbor in the world. And they moved and comes. This other guy who plays music too loud. And his kids are always screaming. And ah, how many of you have a neighbor? You’re like, man, I just wish they’d move. Anybody have a neighbor like man, I wish they move. And the reality is sometimes when people are like, man, I wish that Ling’s dog would shut up <laugh> or stay or stay in the yard.

Jon Deyling (29:31):

But we don’t always get to pick our neighbors. And that is perfectly okay. Cuz you are put where you are for a reason. You didn’t get to choose when you were born. Did you, you didn’t get to choose where you were born, who you were born to the status of your life. But the, you do have an obligation to do the best for Christ where you are. That is actually biblical my friends. That’s not just me or I could spout you a great quote from the Lord of the rings, but I won’t because Jesus is better than the Lord of the rings.

Speaker 3 (30:09):

It ends in why

Jon Deyling (30:10):

On every day that ends in why. Now this one’s not on the screen because I just came across this a couple days ago. I didn’t get this to Perry. This is a, uh, from the book of acts chapter 17. And this is a quote about being an agent of God, a disciple of God, where you are from one man. He made every nation of men that they should inhabit the whole earth. And he being God determined the times set for them in the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him though. He is not far from each of us that stinks to live with COVID, but you’re here. You gotta deal with it. You gotta crummy neighbor deal with it. You gotta love your neighbor. That was in the commandment. And I just wanna say this again. God determined the time set for you and me and the exact places where we should live. It is no mistake that you are living where you’re living and you have every authority to talk to your neighbor about Christ. But how are you gonna do that? If they’re a stranger, how can you invite someone to church who you don’t know if the most, you know, is that they went to a certain college that’s eh, at least, you know, something you can talk about on game day or something.

Jon Deyling (32:03):

But when I said earlier, we’re starting a course of September called alpha to get people back to church. I’m sorry to get people into more relationship with Christ, cuz it’s not about being in the building. It’s about the relationship with Christ. If you can’t even talk to your neighbor about how’s your day, you’re just another. I like to talk to you about our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. You’re just a face with the book that you’re thumping them with. You’ve got to know people and if you don’t know ’em you’re never gonna engage them. Well, challenge this week when I said take these home, I’m actually meant to please take these home and I want you to look at your list. You’re not gonna attack all of them, but take one of them. Pick one, pick an easy one. I don’t care.

Jon Deyling (33:02):

Move them from an S to an a, if you don’t know their name, go introduce yourself. Hi MJA. Nice to meet you. Go introduce yourself, learn their name. If you already know their name, go learn something pretty surface level about ’em. Or if you’re ready to finally take someone from an acquaintance to a relationship, go do that, but pick one person and move them along that list a little bit. And you’ll start to see some immediate changes in how you interact, interact with that person on almost daily basis. Because the more you can sit down and fill out this chart to its entirety, the more we are working towards the kingdom of God, cuz that is what we are called to do. Be in relationship with our neighbors, spread the word of God, to our neighbors. So take that under heart. Uh, next two weeks, we’re gonna talk about the things that hold you back. Oh, I don’t have enough time and I’m afraid maybe it is. Maybe you don’t verbalize afraid, but if you’re one of those people, like I don’t like talking to people I haven’t met. Right. And yet ironically, I’m a teacher. So that’s the call to action this week and then be with us the next two weeks as we talk about those barriers to making this happen.

Hannah Hunter (34:30):

Hey, beautiful people. This is Hannah Hunter. I’m the director of digital reach here at the gathering place in Palm beach gardens. Thank you for joining us this week. We love getting to share our journey in Christ and community with you. And if you’re in the Palm beach area, we would love to get to connect with you in person at our Sunday worship service at 1115, for more information about our community and faith. Check out our website at Thanks for listening.